RACE: June Sprints Sunday races report

SCCA June Sprints Wraps Up Action at Road America ELKHART LAKE, Wis., (June 24, 2007) -- The 52nd running of the Piggly Wiggly Chicago Region SCCA June Sprints® is in the record books. More than 400 drivers participated in the three-day...

SCCA June Sprints Wraps Up Action at Road America

ELKHART LAKE, Wis., (June 24, 2007) -- The 52nd running of the Piggly Wiggly Chicago Region SCCA June Sprints® is in the record books. More than 400 drivers participated in the three-day event run in beautiful weather at scenic Road America. Sunday featured the final six of the nine races making up the action this year.

Highlighting the day was a thrilling 58-car Spec Racer Ford race, and a drive from the back of the pack in the final race that was, indeed, too good to be true.

Race Four:

Tony Swan, of Ypsilanti, Mich., went flag-to-flag for the overall and Touring 3 win in dominating fashion. The Car and Driver Executive Editor drove a Honda S2000 to his first June Sprints victory.

Lee Niffenegger, of Delaware, Ohio, captured Showroom Stock B, passing early leader Ross Andrews' Camaro and beating polesitter Jack Tippens, of Woodstock, Ill., to the checkered flag by 2.716 seconds in his Honda Civic Si.

Jim Drago, of Memphis, Tenn., was finally able to shake off Mark Bennett after being dogged for several laps to win Spec Miata by nearly five seconds. In Showroom Stock C, Joseph McClughan, of New Braunfels, Texas, picked up his ninth win of the season in dominating fashion, topping Gino Carini by more than 30 seconds in his Mazda 3.

Race Five:

Brian Schofield, of Lakeland, Fla., was one of five drivers to lead the 13-lap Spec Racer Ford race, and it took a last lap pass of both Mark Eaton and Lee Fleming to score the win. Fleming, of Lake Forest, Calif., finished second, 0.403-second behind.

Schofield started fourth, but was quickly into second behind polesitter Jeff Beck, of Ingleside, Ill., on the first lap. He made a successful bid for the lead on lap four, only to see sixth-starting and defending SCCA National Champion Mike Miserendino go by before completing the lap. Schofield was by Miserendino the next lap, leading laps five through seven.

Eaton, who started seventh, made a successful move for the lead on lap eight before Schofield re-gained it on lap nine. The lap-11 shakeup that put Fleming into the lead also dropped Schofield to fourth. As is often the case in Spec Racer Ford on the final lap, the draft and race strategy was critical, and Schofield shot through for the win. It was Schofield's second-straight Spec Racer Ford win at the June Sprints.

Race Six:

Defending National Champion Lance Knupp, of Fenton, Mich., went flag-to-flag in Race Six to take the overall and Touring 1 race win in his Chevrolet Corvette. Knupp was hounded early by the Dodge Viper of Jim Lynch, but held him at bay in a race that saw two full-course cautions and was forced to end one lap early, under caution.

Andy McDermid, of Grand Ledge, Mich., won the America Sedan portion of the event in his Ford Mustang, taking the lead when polesitter Tom Sloe, of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, had an apparent suspension failure in Turn 11.

Attrition also factored into the Touring 2 race, in which early leader George Biskup lost a wheel on his Dodge SRT-4 in turn 14, allowing William Ziegler, of Stamford, Conn., to take over the lead and win in his Mitsubishi Evolution.

In D Prepared, Robert Huffmaster, of Rochester Hills, Mich., topped the two-car field in his Mazda RX-8.

Race Seven:

Defending Triple Crown® winner Hans Peter, of Overland Park, Kan., took a dominating win in C Sports Racing and overall after early leader J.R. Osborne, of Centennial, Colo., was sidelined with mechanical problems. Peter is well on his way to a second-straight Triple Crown, currently holding a substantial lead in his Divisional point race in addition to the Sprints win.

When Osborn retired, it gave the D Sports Racing class lead to Jean-Luc Liverato, of Alpharetta, Ga. Liverato held off Dorian Foyil to take the DSR win, second overall, in his Stohr WF1.

Local driver Bart Wolf, of Elkhart Lake, Wis., dogged defending Triple Crown winner Mark Mercer for much of the race before Mercer pulled off with a mechanical problem with two laps remaining, giving the Sports 2000 class win to Wolf.

Rusty Mitchell, of Wacorie View, Texas, came out on top of a great battle in Formula E for Formula SCCA cars. Mitchell held off Scott McQueen by less than a second at the checkered flag.

Race Eight:

Tony Ave, formerly of Hurley, Wis., scored a dominating and popular win in GT-1, driving his Chevrolet Corvette to a 9.190-second win over defending National Champion Philip Simms, in a Jaguar XKR. Before a late-race caution bunched the field, Ave had held a 20-plus second advantage.

Tom Patton, of Hamilton, Ohio, scored the GT-2 win in his venerable Sunbeam Tiger over Scott Sanda's Porsche. Rob Warkocki, of Frankfort, Ill., won GT-3 in his Mazda RX-7.

Race Nine:

In the final race of the weekend, Tonis Kasemets, of Mundelein, Ill., got the jump on polesitter David Grant, of Germantown, Tenn., and led all 13 laps in Formula Atlantic and overall.

In Formula Continental, Niki Coello, of East Troy, Wis., was beginning a bid to become the first driver to win three-consecutive Triple Crown honors. In a split start for Formula Continental, he got the jump on the field--a jump deemed as too good by race officials, which brought out a black flag for Coello to serve a stop and go penalty. Several laps went by before Coello made a move from the lead to the pit lane as the course went to caution, a decision that would later prove costly.

With Coello back in 20th place on the restart, Brian Tomasi inherited the lead, but it would be short-lived as his race ended in a turn five incident on lap seven, bringing out a second caution period. On the ensuing restart, Coello continued to slice through the field, taking the lead in the final laps and an apparent 2.346-second win. However, following the race, it was ruled that Coello's tardiness in reporting to the pits would drop him to last place in class.

The decision moved Bobby Caldwell, of Terre Haute, Ind., into first, with Chas Shaffer, of Catlett, Va., second.

Full, final results will be available on the June Sprints official Web site, www.junesprints.com.

-credit: scca

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Series SCCA
Drivers Tony Ave , Andy McDermid , Jeff Beck , Tom Sloe , Philip Simms , Tom Patton , Bart Wolf , Hans Peter , Joseph McClughan , Brian Tomasi , Lee Fleming , Lee Niffenegger , Tonis Kasemets , Tony Swan , William Ziegler , Rusty Mitchell , Bobby Caldwell , Niki Coello , David Grant , George Biskup , Mike Miserendino
Teams HART